KANSAS CITY, MO (June 27, 2015) – Advocates for Covenant Clergy Women (ACCW) presented three awards during the Evangelical Covenant Church’s Ministerium meeting as part of the 130th Annual Meeting of the ECC.
Helen Smith was presented the Anderson/ Nordlund Missionary Grant. The $500 scholarship provides for continued training and education, awarded to a full-time female missionary called by the Covenant, on assignment through Covenant World Mission and supported by a local Covenant congregation.
Smith sensed the call to missions when she was 15. She began serving in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) in 1976 to teach at Congo Covenant Church (CEUM) schools.
Smith’s ministry included teaching Congolese teens as well as men and women at two CEUM Bible Institutes. She also home-schooled her three children, substituted in French class at the missionary kids’ academy, taught afternoon Bible clubs for kids, and led women’s retreats in Equateur Guinea. Most recently she taught English at the Ubangi Protestant University in Gemena and discipleship at Zulu Discipleship Center outside Karawa.
Smith currently is on home assignment and is a student in the Spiritual Direction program at North Park Theological Seminary.
Sharon Nelson was honored with the Priscilla Pastorate Grant. The $1,000 grant is given to a full-time female pastor in a Covenant church, regardless of title, who is a pastor in good standing in the Covenant Ministerium.
Nelson is co-pastor with her husband, Chris, of Oberlin (Kansas) Covenant Church with an emphasis in Christian formation and pastoral care. The grant will help sustain Thrive, a ministry the church launched last year and which Nelson describes as “an alternative to ‘church as usual.’” Once a month on a Saturday evening, a core group and invited guests of all ages gather for food, games, and discussion of a particular topic.
Jeff Ondrey was honored with the Mordecai Award for Outstanding Partnership. The award honors a male colleague who has demonstrated active support of women in ministry through providing advocacy, resources, support, and dialogue on behalf of all women in ministry. Those eligible for the award include administrators, teachers, pastors, and missionaries.
Ondrey is the director of nursing home operations with Heritage Ministries in Jamestown, New York. He recently finished his time serving on the board of Camp Mission Meadows and currently maintains the blog as a member of the Commission for Biblical Gender Equality.